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Did Chicago jobs decline?

Posted on February 9, 2017

New labor statistics report that Chicago jobs may have declined.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced that Illinois’ unemployment rate in September declined to 5.4 percent and nonfarm payroll employment shed -6,900 jobs, based on preliminary data released by the Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The state’s job numbers dropped for a fourth consecutive month, keeping Illinois below the national average.  Based on the slower path recorded this year, IDES analysts anticipate that Illinois employment will not recover from the 2007-2009 recession until April 2017.  The nation is currently 2.9 percent above its prior peak level of employment.

“Illinois businesses have added only 2,200 new jobs since the beginning of this year,” said Jeff Mays, Director, IDES.  “It’s been six years since the recession and job growth is still dismal.  We’ve got a long way to go before Illinois realizes real employment and economic recovery.”

IDES’ IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL) program, which helps jobseekers connect with hiring companies, recently showed that 62,287 resumes were posted and 174,891 help-wanted ads were available.  The Department continues to conduct outreach through employer seminars and hiring fairs to better connect jobseekers to employers.

The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment.  An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.  The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September, which held at 5.1 percent.  The BLS revised August data, which showed a moderate drop (-5,200) in Illinois rather than the preliminary estimate of a small dip (-900).  In September, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Government (+2,100), Other Services (+1,500) and Education and Health Care (+1,400).  The three industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-6,400); Leisure and Hospitality (-1,900); and Manufacturing (-1,800).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +27,100 jobs with the largest gains in Professional and Business Services (+14,700); Education and Health Services (+13,600); and Leisure and Hospitality (+4,500).  Several sectors posted small over-the-year declines in September but the two largest were: Manufacturing (-9,000) and Mining (-1,000).  In September, the unemployment rate stood 1.0 percentage points below the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 6.4 percent.  The number of unemployed workers decreased -2.8 percent from the prior month to 352,600 and was down -15.6 percent over the same month for the prior year.